In honor of Romancing the Werewolf
, Fashionable Reader, I invited Modern Biffy to the blog today to bring you some VERY strong opinions on menswear.
Take it away... Biffy!
my humble experience, men can be very difficult to dress. The ones who
have an interest in fashion can often be the worst to deal with. For
they know that there is a code to be hacked in manipulating others
through image, so they are extra paranoid about it.
My approach it to show them images and ask for input.
Which one do you like?
How do you want to dress?
What kind of impression do you want to give?
I've got some tips inherent in my Dressing for Conventions
rant as well.
I advise trying to focus attention in on the clothing itself, rather than the man who wears it.
Ask a man who
he wants to look like and he'll say "Brad Pitt" or "George Clooney" or "James Bond."
Better to ask what
he wants to look like. What kind of impression does he want to give?
Start directing his attention to the clothing rather than the man underneath it.
For example, very few body types can carry of this look:
But a great many out there can do this one, and look marvelous.
I think that every man should own at least two suits ~
one grey and one black. These will hit pretty much every necessary
event from weddings to funerals, and you can mix and match for casual
occasions, like so:
is a very modern look with the skinny trousers and mix of brown &
black elements, but you get the idea. He's taken the black trousers from
one suit and put them with the grey blazer of the other. How come he
gets away with mixing chocolate brown, tobacco brown, grey, black, and a
patterned tie? He kept all his lines clean and stuck with neutral
A brown vintage version.
To experiment with color, the base components should be more matched, like so:
done all black with grey trousers and then two pops of matched red. The
color will draw attention instantly, so if you want to rock the yellow
socks, make certain your shoes are polished to a mirror shine because
people will be looking at them!
But I am getting a little advanced here, shall we go back to the basics?
Those two suits?
Here's a break down of the necessary elements.
1. Choose an English or an Italian cut.
2. In both black and grey.
Because of intended use, I always suggest the grey be of a lighter fabric than
the black. Also, while cool, I am against linen, it wrinkles too easily.
A black suit is for:
that are formal, evening, autumn and winter, and/or inside that don't
specify white tie, evening dinners and events, funerals, first time
meetings with executives from foreign countries, any afternoon event
that might lead into evening. Because this will serve your black tie
needs, the trousers should not
be cuffed. Tuxes, for the modern man, are usually so infrequently worn
that it's OK to rent. So long as when you rent you make certain to get
the right size.
A grey suit is for:
that are informal, morning or afternoon, spring and summer, and/or
outside that don't specify black tie, outdoor formal events that do not
specify mourning jackets, christenings, lunchtime appointments, morning
occasions. Try to go for slightly lighter greys rather than charcoal.
Silvers, steels, blue tinged, or even dove tones. Think about eye color
and complexion when selecting the tone of grey.
What about brown?
Serves the same as grey but for formal occasions will require all new accessories, so I'd opt for grey if you can.
a nice vintage feel and I actually like a blue suit a lot. In lighter
hues it could serve instead of the grey but is a daring choice. Navy has
similar problems to brown.
3. Single breasted jacket.
Looks best on most body types. Double breasted adds width and bulk.
Yes. It. Does.
know, honey, you love it. It makes you feel a tough and all mafia-ish.
Well, it also makes you look fat. Nash. If you're rail thin and you want
to rock the vintage look, than why are you reading this blog? We are
talking basics here, not advanced costuming.
suggest a notched narrower collar, but do experimented with various
different style jackets. Remember the jacket MUST fit you in the
shoulder, and around the back and middle, hems and cuffs can be taken
Jacket button rule?
From the top down . . .
Only two buttons?
From the top down . . .
Sometimes but mostly never
Remember, however, to unbutton all of them when sitting.
1964 The Victoria & Albert Museum
4. Flat front trousers.
For the effing love gentlemen! FLAT FRONT. Never ever pleated.
Do you like
the crotch poof? No one likes the crotch poof.
don't know why they even manufacture pleated anymore. Always bring the
shoes you intend to wear with with you to try on suits, so you can check
the length of the trouser. Easier to shorten than to lengthen.
5. Crisp white skirt.
standard cuffs and collars. Leave the fancy ones for costumes. Again,
this should fit the shoulder and neck and I suggest trying a "slim" or
"modern" cut even if you are on the larger side. These terms actually
mean that the shirts are made to fit closer to the body and can be more
flattering as a result, adding less volume with less fabric. They often
wear better under a jacket because they have less bulk. They also look
better tucked in and don't poof as much.
6. A relatively skinny black tie.
will serve for both suits and most needs so if you only want to buy one
tie this would be it. If there are formal occasions in your future you
might need a black bow tie as well. Yes, ready-tied is fine. (Hush don't
tell Lord Akeldama.)
7. Trouser (or Dress) Socks.
wearing dress pants or casual pants, apart from jeans, the color of
your socks should be dictated by the color of your pants and not
by the shade of your shoes."
~ From Ask Men
8. Black formal shoes.
leave the style up to you. I dislike a square toe, and kind of like a
pointy modern look, but if you're struggling I'd opt for something
simple. Oxfords are a great choice, wingtips if you want a little flash, spectators if you want a lot
That is really all you need. Amazing.
1960s The Victoria & Albert Museum
Packing for a trip?
up your suits for other events. Use the grey trousers where you might
wear jeans for a more formal daytime look. Invest in some nice colored
fitted t-shirts (blue, green, graphic black & white) for less formal
occasions for under the jacket. Add a great pair of dark wash boot-cut
non-distressed jeans, and one or two fancy patterned shirts, a good
trench or warm overcoat or a black leather blazer (depending on the
weather) and you have the perfect wardrobe suited to almost any
Modern grey suit & a Lounge Suit 1911 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
How little has changed.
and vintage takes on the grey suit. Note that the modern one is
generally a slimmer cut and has been paired with a faint check shirt and
brown accessorizes for a very contemporary twist? The vintage look
paired grey with blue, a classic combination that never gets old (joke
Right is 1961 The Victoria & Albert Museum
formal suits modern and vintage. Again, note the looser cut in the
vintage look? But otherwise little has changed. Although both vintage
examples are three piece suits, which brings us to . . .
Addendum . . . Going Retro
So you have your two classic suits, what next?
The 3 Piece Suit.
always suggest if a matched vest is offered for your suit that you
spring for it. Why? Because it adds an instant vintage component to your
James Bond in a grey 3 piece, the vest has a small shawl collar.
takes on the vest are both collarless. In the first we see a casual
grey version without a tie and with brown shoes, and the second is a
formal take with all the trimmings.
Jean Patou in that late 1920s wearing with a double breasted cross over vest with a shawl collar under a single buttoned jacket.
collars are difficult to find now, but very vintage looking, so if you
think you are only going to use the vest for steampunk, costume, and
retro events than go for it.
As with jackets I strongly suggest single breasted vests (as opposed to double breasted waistcoats).
Also, its a good idea to pay close attention to where the top button of the vest sits (the neckline's stance
Not only does this dictate how much of the tie is seen but it should be
dependent on the stance of the jacket. If the jacked buttons higher,
the vest should go higher up, as seen in the very first look. When
jacket is buttoned you should see the top button of the vest, sometimes
the second to the top.
There are some fun ways to pars out a 3 piece. For example:
Jean Patou 1924
The check suit.
has much to answer for, this is one of them. I suggest making certain
you have the bases covered. Then, if you are ready, go vintage shopping
and find some kind of outrageous check suit or sport coat. Why not?
Break all the rules, rock a wide tie too!
pull-over v-neck sweater is a good addition to a man's wardrobe. It
adds that vintage feel when worn with the white shirt, suit trousers,
and a tie. Good for sporting events, added warmth, or the very casual
meet-up. I'd go for a nice neutral soft blue, grey, or taupe/mushroom.
The turtleneck with a suit is an . . . option. Be careful though. It can look quite pretentious.
"Happily, Woman is much more susceptible to external polish than Man is."
~ Etiquette for Ladies, c. 1850
Releases Nov 5th!
Lyall is wearing a Dark Garden Beau Brummel custom corset
Retro Rack is also on facebook
where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.